Defunding women’s rights

Allison Starnes

Contributing Writer

President Donald J. Trump. Who would have thought those words would ever be put together to form a title. Within his first week of presidency some of my worst fears have begun to come true. I have grown up being a very liberal and accepting individual, with strong feelings for social issues and women’s rights.

Now some would say, “If you are so accepting, then why are you not accepting Trump as our president?” I have accepted that he is our president. But I will not support him. No, I will not support decisions made to hurt others. No matter what the circumstance. This brings me to my point of the anti-abortion executive order Trump signed the first week in office.

This executive order reinstates the Mexico City policy, prohibiting giving U.S. funding to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion. $600 million a year is spent on international assistance for family planning and reproductive health. Allowing 27 million women and couples to access safe and affordable contraceptive services and supplies.

Contrary to popular belief, none of the $600 million dollars spent go towards performing abortions. The money goes towards primary health care services, such as cervical screening, HIV prevention, testing and counseling, STI prevention and treatment, pre- and post- natal care and newborn care.

However, having abortions as an option in these international nongovernmental organizations was enough of a reason for our new government administration to stop the funding. This leaves millions of women and families in the dust.

This executive order to end funding for women’s contraceptive products was made in a room full of men, with little to no input from women. This decision is not only discriminatory towards women, but also dangerous and even potentially deadly for women and girls in developing countries and conflict zones.

The World Health Organization estimates that more that 21 million women a year have unsafe abortions in developing countries, leading to about 13 percent of maternal deaths. This number is expected to skyrocket with the recent cease of government funding. While the intention of this rule is to reduce abortion rates, the opposite statistically occurs. A study conducted in 2011 showed that women were 2.73 times more likely to have an abortion under this rule. Not quite the result President Trump is going for.

Thankfully, the Dutch government has announced that they plan to compensate NGOs for the funding shortfall over four years. Several countries within and outside the EU have also indicated their support. NGOs are working hard and fast to access both short and long term contraceptives for women before their organizations are fully shut down. Unfortunately such a transition takes time and money that many NGOs do not have.

In a country that appeared to be moving forward in many social, gender and race issues, the new president has halted the progress and is seemingly reverting all the people’s hard work and growth. The next for years continue to be unknown, leaving many fearful. Only time will tell what our new president  will bring to the table.